====August 26, 2013
====Sienna and Tuli
====Tuli has inquiries about cracker-making, amongst other things. Sienna is kind enough to oblige.

Who Sienna and Tuli
What Tuli has inquiries about cracker-making, amongst other things. Sienna is kind enough to oblige.
When There is 1 turn 4 months and 21 days until the 12th pass.
Where IGW - Kitchens



Igen Weyr - Kitchens
Chaos and anomie reign in this hub of food production. It's not so much the smell, which varies from 'faintly edible' to 'coal', as the film of grease that adds a sheen to every surface and glues canine hair to the wall. The area is well set up, of course — it's a large kitchen with more than adequate counter space. There's plenty of room to get around, too, even with the centralized canine spit run dominating the center of the floor. The place is just, well, not 'up to code'. Several large stoves belch smoke that chars the blocked chimney's outer brick. Unidentifiable bits of food have been baked to the floors and ground in by the uncaring trod of drudge shoes. Even the sink is crusty, with it's constant tower of filthy dishes and lack of cleansing sand to be seen anywhere. Add in the bloodied smears on cutting boards and what you have is a monument to cross contamination.

Evening just before dinner is not the calmest time to be in the kitchens, as the busy and controlled chaos of a staff revved up to maximum output finishes getting all things ready. The head cook is shouting, directing the scurrying (and mostly competent, now!) apprentices and drudges. In one corner though, there is a little island of solitude as Sienna patiently works some cracker dough. She is here almost every day doing this, making her crackers to sell with her cheeses in the vinter's shop. Now that Ravene's bakery is under new ownership though, she's lost that source of revenue so she works with a quiet methodical thoughtfulness, eyes downcast as she thinks.

Scenes of chaos do not deter Tuli: the young goldrider strides confidently through the hubbub, neatly sidestepping two drudges with a tureen of soup, then dodging a cook with a fistful of paring knives, then sidling out of the way of an apprentice trio and their medley of meats. It's a dance that is carrying her towards something in particular (the cellars), but in such a roundabout way that she comes up none too far from Sienna. Who stands out, in the controlled mayhem. Enough that Tuli halts in her forward progress, diverting closer. "Hullo," comes the voice, calm, friendly. "Whatcha makin'?"

Sienna startles slightly, turning her head to notice Tuli's approach with a mild widening of alarm. Is she in trouble? Straightening, the pregnant greenrider lifts a doughy, floured hand to her forehead to salute, leaving a little of both behind. "Ma'am." Looking back at the dough she smiles a bit, quietly proud of her craft. "Some crackers to go with cheeses in the gift baskets. Can I help you with something?"

"Oh, no." Tuli hasn't been a goldrider long, all things considered, but long enough that she recognizes the signs. Her own salute smoothly morphs into a little 'at ease' signal. She comes in peace! "Just curious. Can't bake a fig, myself." She leans in a tad, enough to eye the process curiously, not enough to be officially in Sienna's personal space. "Crackers made different from other things? Guess I always figured they were just like really thin bread." Also, after a moment to process the statement: "Gift baskets?"

Sienna nods, "They are thin bread, but there are differences in the recipe and the preparing. You…can watch if you'd like," the greenrider offers, watching her askance again. Slowly realizing she's not in trouble. "Yeah, gift baskets they sell in the vinter shop. We collaborate. Wine with a cheese and cracker pairing. Sometimes some cured meats. They're selling pretty well. Nice little side job." There's a shrug and a smile. "But of course the weyr gets much of what I produce in exchange for the space rental, and the equipment." Glancing at the crackers, she chuckles. "This is about the only thing I can bake. I'm more of a cook, despite the misnomer term of 'Baker'. You can't cook?"

"Well." Tuli considers this offer, half an eye on Sienna's face. Possibly weighing whether she'll discomfort the woman by saying, "Sure. I'm doing nothing pressing. Was just going to go do an inventory on our stored meats," a work-roughened hand gestures vaguely towards the cellar, "but they're not liable to walk off in, what, ten minutes, right? Not unless the butcher did their job really wrong." Her voice is solemn, expression equally so, so it's hard to tell for sure, but that was PROBABLY a… joke? Probably. So she finds enough room against the nearest counter to park herself, and eyes the dough with interest. "Ah? How much we chargin'? It fair?" Fingers come up with absently scratch the back of her neck. "I can boil water and make a few basic things, but that's about the limits. Stirfries, y'know. And the like."

Sienna laughs. /She/ thought it was a joke once. "I had that happen one time." Wait, what? "A whole side of beef just vanished. Still don't know what happened to it but I'm /pretty/ sure it didn't walk off on its own. Only had two legs. It would've fallen over…" She picks up a wooden rolling pin and begins to work it across the dough, spreading it out over the obsessively clean surface. Little flecks of herbs are visible in the dough as well. "I think it's fair. Half of what I produce goes back to the weyr. I'll have to look at the numbers again though now that Ravene is gone and I'm paying for the goats to live in the barn." She smiles, "Boiling water is a good skill to have, ma'am."

"Did it." Tuli's eyes narrow to dark, glimmering slits. She doesn't immediately pursue the topic, though: the dough is interesting enough to divert her. "What's the lil' herby bits? Rosemary? That's a beaut of a plant out in the courtyard." It's no secret in the Weyr that the goldrider has an interest in plantlife, and it's confirmed by the tangent that briefly follows: "Though the light's all wrong for it, honestly. I'm thinking seriously about trying to get proper gardens put in." That the fee is fair gets a nod, satisfied, and she watches the greenrider work in silence for a long moment. Quite suddenly: "You're here more often than I am, I'm sure. How much food do you s'pose is walking off?"

Sienna blinks at Tuli in surprise at her tone and her narrowed eyes. Uncomfortable for a moment, realization dawns and Sienna laughs again. "This was turns ago, back in Ista. Not here. As for here…" She glances around and then down at the stores with a little shrug. "Probably a bit more than is normal for a kitchens this size, but nothing /huge/. Not any more, I'd wager. Why, are the records not matching up? Once we got some proper Bakers in here, I think a lot of the thieving eased up. And there's some rosemary in there certainly. Other spices." A secret blend she will not divulge! "Oh, a garden would be /magnificent/," Sienna says wistfully. "Fresh produce…" She pauses in her rolling to just /dream/ about it for a moment, eyes distant.

"Well, no," Tuli acknowledges, after a moment's obvious relief that the walking-dead incident occurred at Ista, four centuries prior. "They don't… quite match up. The stores don't, either. It's getting better, but we're not where I'd like us to be, with us going into a Pass so soon." A pause. "Tell me if you notice anything in particular, please? Or if anyone mentions something." She shrugs, loose-shouldered, before tackling the other subject with considerably more enthusiasm. "Wouldn't it? The soil nearest the lake isn't ideal, but it would be easiest to irrigate. I'm thinking of trying to drum up some enthuasiam for a project. Maybe have a garden for basic necessities, and a community area where people can grow their own things, and pay for the plots by giving a small tithe back." Her fingers tap absently on the counter besides her. "We could even have an orchard, theoretically."

Sienna frowns as she stares at the door leading down to the cellars. "Hmm. I'll keep my ear to the ground for sure," she says. "I'll talk to my apprentice friend too. He's here even more than I am and less…noticable." Though is she referring to her enormous belly or her green lifemate? Hard to tell. Then there's a smile. "Well you can certainly count me in for the enthusiasm, if not any physical labor just yet." Indeed, she looks rather worn, even reaching out to pull over a stool to perch on as she continues to roll out the dough nice and thin. Then she folds it over and rolls it again. And another fold, and another roll. "This makes it flaky," she murmurs as an aside. "An orchard, too. Hmm. I could…do you know if Tilla came forward? I think she did. She would be the one to talk to, if she's here in Igen. She did an amazing greenhouse at High Reaches back then. Great with plants. I could only tell you what I /wanted/ to have, not necessarily what would actually grow in this climate."

"I'd appreciate it." And that's all Tuli has to say about THAT. The folding she watches, though she's perhaps more interested in the wear and tear, if the question that follows is any sign of things: "How's pregnancy treating you? Forgot how many months you were along, sorry." At Tilla's name she nods, quickly. "Oh, yes, I know her! And." A pause, to think, before she decides, "I think she did. I think she's at Southern. Though both she and I weren't, well, desert climate gardeners. I've talked to some of the area Farmcrafters, enough to know the basics of what's doable, but…" The young woman gives another loose-shouldered, expressive shrug. "Too bad we aren't closer to the river. All that thick silt they get."

Sienna pauses in the rolling and folding to sit up a bit, stretching her back with a grimace. "It's hard," she admits with a small smile that suggests she's understating the experience. "Starting to get tired again, though thankfully my nausea hasn't returned. I can deal with sleeping all the time as long as I'm not having to wake up to throw up. So yeah. I'm doing alright." Then she's bending back to the crackers, determined to get them done. The day she can't even bake is a day that will make her very sad indeed. So she stubbornly pushes on. "Mmm, yeah. A river would be nice…alas." No.

"Don't envy you." This is not, as Tuli has confessed in prior conversations, an entirely accurate statement — but it's mostly true. "The new weyr working out? I forgot to ask." After a moment's CAREFUL thought, eyeing the bend of Sienna's back, the young goldrider ventures to ask, voice laced with all-too-obvious tact: "Don't s'pose I can do anything to help? Feel guilty, just watching you work!"

Sienna smiles knowingly at Tuli. She knows there's some envy there! But then her expression sinks into one of rapt /joy/. "Faranth how I wish Kehemath were gold," she whispers. "It has a lavatory /and/ a bath right /in/ the weyr…no flying…it's heavenly. It's perfect. Huge, but perfect, thank you for letting me use it." Then her cheeks color slightly and she shakes her head. "Not yet. But…if you could carry the pan back and forth to to ovens that'd be a huge help." Rolling it out one more time she gets a small knife and a measuring stick, using it to cut perfect rectangles of her preferred size, placing each one onto a well worn, dented baking sheet. "There. Into that oven please," she points, "it should be the right temerature now, if the coals are any indication."

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